|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:14-18 Christ deals gently with those who have true grace, though they are weak in it. Consider the design of Christ's death: also that drawing a soul to sin, threatens the destruction of that soul. Did Christ deny himself for our brethren, so as to die for them, and shall not we deny ourselves for them, so as to keep from any indulgence? We cannot hinder ungoverned tongues from speaking evil; but we must not give them any occasion. We must deny ourselves in many cases what we may lawfully do, when our doing it may hurt our good name. Our good often comes to be evil spoken of, because we use lawful things in an uncharitable and selfish manner. As we value the reputation of the good we profess and practise, let us seek that it may not be evil-spoken of. Righteousness, peace, and joy, are words that mean a great deal. As to God, our great concern is to appear before him justified by Christ's death, sanctified by the Spirit of his grace; for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness. As to our brethren, it is to live in peace, and love, and charity with them; following peace with all men. As to ourselves, it is joy in the Holy Ghost; that spiritual joy wrought by the blessed Spirit in the hearts of believers, which respects God as their reconciled Father, and heaven as their expected home. Regard to Christ in doing our duties, alone can make them acceptable. Those are most pleasing to God that are best pleased with him; and they abound most in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. They are approved by wise and good men; and the opinion of others is not to be regarded.
Verse 14. - I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus (I myself know it; my very faith in Jesus carries to me the conviction of it; I do not hesitate to declare my own decided view, that the scruples of these weak brethren are unfounded) that there is nothing unclean of itself (cf. Matthew 15:11; Mark 7:18; Acts 10:15; 1 Timothy 4:4); save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. To him it becomes defiling, because partaking of it defiles his conscience (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:7).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus,.... As for the apostle's own sense and judgment about the distinction of meats, it was this,
that there is nothing unclean of itself; that every creature, as originally made by God, is good; that what is eatable, or fit for food, may be eaten, whatever the Mosaic laws, being now abrogated, say to the contrary; and that whatever physical or natural difference there may be between the creatures of God, one being naturally fit for food, and another not; yet there is no moral distinction between them, there is nothing in any of them that can morally defile a man by eating them; nor indeed is there now any ceremonial distinction between them, and so no ceremonial pollution by them. This was not a bare conjecture, nor a mere opinion, but a point of certain knowledge, a matter of faith, and of full assurance of faith; the apostle was thoroughly persuaded of the truth of it, and had not the least doubt nor difficulty in his mind about it; he was as fully assured of it, as he was of his salvation by Christ, and of his interest in the love of God, from which he could never be separated, and therefore expresses it in language equally as strong; and this he came to the knowledge and persuasion of, "by the Lord Jesus"; by his express words, Matthew 15:11; or by a revelation from him, in which way he had the whole Gospel: he might be informed of this matter in like manner as Peter was, by a vision from heaven, Acts 10:10, or he knew this through the abrogation of the whole ceremonial law by Christ, who abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances, and so these laws relating to the difference of meats among the rest; and he knew, that all the creatures in their original creation were good, and though cursed, for man's sake yet Christ had removed the curse, and sanctified them for the use of his people, who, under the Gospel dispensation, might make use of them at pleasure, without distinction: and the Jews themselves own, that what before was unclean, shall in the days of the Messiah be clean: so they explain Psalm 146:7; "the Lord looseth the prisoners", which they would render, "the Lord looseth that which was forbidden"; and give this as the sense (r).
"every beast which was unclean in this world (the Jewish state), , "God will cleanse it in the time to come" (in the times of the Messiah), when they shall be clean as at the first, to the sons of Noah.''
So they observe, that the Hebrew word for a hog, comes from which signifies to return; because, say they (s), hereafter God will cause it to return to the Israelites; and even now, as formerly, they allow of eating anything that is torn, or dies of itself, or hog's flesh to an army entering into a Gentile country, and subduing it, where they can find nothing else (t):
but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean; such a man that thinks the laws concerning clean and unclean meats are still in force, and binding upon him, ought to refrain from eating them; because he would act contrary to his conscience, and so violate and defile it; wherefore though the apostle was so fully satisfied in his own, mind, yet he would not have weak and scrupulous consciences do themselves any hurt through his faith; for if they ate doubtingly, and without faith, it was an evil. Capellus (u) mentions a rule laid down by the Jews, but does not direct where it is to be found, nor have I yet met with it, very agreeable to this of the apostle's, which runs thus:
"this is the grand general rule in the law, that every thing which thou dost not know, "whether it is lawful or unlawful, to thee it is unlawful", until thou hast asked a wise men concerning who may teach thee that it is lawful.''
(r) Bereshit Rabba in Maji Synops. Jud. Theolog. p. 224. R. Moses Hadarsan in Galatin. de Arcan. Cathol. ver. l. 11. c. 12. p. 699. (s) Abarbinel. Rosh Amana, c. 13. fol. 18. 2.((t) Maimon. Hilch. Melacim, c. 8. sect. 1.((u) In loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14, 15. I know, and am persuaded by—or rather, "in"
the Lord Jesus—as "having the mind of Christ" (1Co 2:16).
that there is nothing unclean of itself—Hence it is that he calls those "the strong" who believed in the abolition of all ritual distinctions under the Gospel. (See Ac 10:15).
to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean—"and therefore, though you can eat of it with out sin, he cannot."
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